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Bible Ballistics: BBs #556. Who’s Listening Anyway???

 

Elijah is one of my favorite Old Testament figures; a fiery man with a heart for God, but a real man with fears, and emotions that we all share from time to time. Elijah had a great victory on Mt. Carmel over Jezebel’s prophets of Baal, yet after leading the people to see the power of God in the consumption of his water-soaked sacrifice, calling the people to follow God not idols, slaying the prophets of Baal, and then seeing God answer his prayer for the drought-busting rain, Elijah fled from the threat of death from Jezebel.

Just like us, Elijah was real flesh and bone, and when we humans—even, if not especially, men and women who follow Jesus—choose to follow God and have those mountain-top experiences, we will almost always encounter a great valley; and I think it would serve us well to rehearse the account of Elijah’s experiences today.

When Jezebel heard about Elijah’s overcoming encounter with her false prophets of Baal (some 800 of them), she was furious (as the enemy always is when we stand fast and see GOD move) and sent a real, genuine threat of death to Elijah.  And as the queen she had the might and the authority to do it (albeit, human authority not God’s authority)!

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done,

and withal how he had slain all the prophets

with the sword.

2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying,

So let the gods do to me,

and more also,

if I make not thy life

as the life of one of them

by to morrow about this time.

3 And when he saw that,

he arose,

and went for his life,

and came to Beersheba,

which belongeth to Judah,

and left his servant there.”  1 Kings 19:1-3

Elijah “went for his life” when threatened by the enemy, yet God knows where we live, and what we need; and I’d like us to consider God’s work with Elijah in this crisis of fear. One of the things that we need to remember is that fear is an emotion not a sin; yet we must not let sin rule and run us, but we must overcome our fears through God’s power!  Let’s see how God dealt with our victorious but fearful prophet!

But he himself went a day’s journey

into the wilderness,

and came and sat down under a juniper tree:

and he requested for himself that he might die;

and said,

It is enough; now, O LORD,

take away my life;

for I am not better than my fathers.

5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree,

behold, then an angel touched him,

and said unto him,

Arise and eat.

6 And he looked, and, behold,

there was a cake baken on the coals,

and a cruse of water at his head.

And he did eat and drink,

and laid him down again.

7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him,

and said,

Arise and eat;

because the journey is too great

for thee.

8 And he arose, and did eat and drink,

and went in the strength of that meat

forty days and forty nights

unto Horeb the mount of God.”   1 Kings 19:4-8

God didn’t rebuke Elijah but allowed him to sleep and rest (ignoring his request to die for the time being), and even sent an angel to bring him food and water to sustain him; then he journeyed forty days to Mt. Horeb.  God knew that Elijah was tired, and He provided him rest and sustenance—God knows exactly where you are, and He has provided what you need if you’ll but listen to His voice and follow His Holy Spirit.  You may be in your own wilderness, and think you can’t go on, but let God supply what you need and then you too can go “in the strength of that meat”!  God knows exactly where we are and He has called us to trust HIM, and His power as we seek the mind of Christ Jesus. (See Philippians 2:5-11)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power,

and of love,

and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

But God wasn’t through with Elijah!

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him,

What doest thou here, Elijah?

10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts:

for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant,

thrown down thine altars,

and slain thy prophets with the sword;

and I,

even I only,

am left;

and they seek my life,

to take it away.

11 And he said, Go forth,

and stand upon the mount before the LORD.

And, behold, the LORD passed by,

and a great and strong wind

rent the mountains,

and brake in pieces the rocks

before the LORD;

but the LORD was not in the wind:

and after the wind an earthquake;

but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire;

but the LORD was not in the fire:

and after the fire

a still small voice.

13 And it was so,

when Elijah heard it,

that he wrapped his face in his mantle,

and went out,

and stood in the entering in of the cave.

And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said,

What doest thou here, Elijah?”  1 Kings 19:9-13

I love this passage of scripture, and I can hear my mother, with her hands on her hips, saying, “What are you doing in there?”! And often I was where I shouldn’t have been, doing what I shouldn’t have done, similarly, God came to Elijah in this amazing example of how the work of God is often opposite to the clamor of the world!  God came to Elijah not in the spectacular (as the world might call it), but in “a still small voice”!

Be still,

and know

that I am God:

I will be exalted among the heathen,

I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The LORD of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”  Psalm 46:10-11

It’s so easy to be caught up in the ‘busy-ness’ of the world, and forget, or be distracted from the intimacy of our relationship with God!  Sometimes God is just calling us to “Be still, and know that I am God”!  But this isn’t all that God had to say to Elijah, yet HE hears and answers Elijah in a way that he wasn’t expecting.  Just like us, Elijah had been distracted by his circumstances, but God was about to readjust his vision!

And he said,

I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts:

because the children of Israel have forsaken

thy covenant,

thrown down thine altars,

and slain thy prophets with the sword;

and I,

even I only,

am left;

and they seek my life,

to take it away.

15 And the LORD said unto him,

Go,

return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus:

and when thou comest, anoint Hazael

to be king over Syria:

16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi

shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel:

and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah

shalt thou anoint to be prophet

in thy room.

17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth

the sword of Hazael

shall Jehu slay:

and him that escapeth

from the sword of Jehu

shall Elisha slay.

18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel,

all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal,

and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

19 So he departed thence,

and found Elisha the son of Shaphat,

who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen

before him,

and he with the twelfth:

and Elijah passed by him,

and cast his mantle upon him.”   1 Kings 19:14-19

God answered Elijah’s earlier question about being the “only one” who was faithful to God, and we’ve all felt that way on occasion; as God told Elijah, and us as well,  HE is faithful, and HE knows those who are His!  The world around us may be enamored of the false prophets, but we can rest assured that God is still on HIS throne and HE knows HIS own!!!  And YOU and I my friend are never alone.  I leave with two simple passages of encouragement!

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure,

having this seal,

The Lord knoweth them that are his.

And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ

depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy 2:19

Let your conversation be without covetousness;

 and be content with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee,

nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper,

and I will not fear

what man shall do unto me.”   Hebrews 13:4-5

Amen and Amen!